Gospel Address No 2
Matthew 17: 22 to end. March 7th, 1871.
In the first three gospels the Lord is presented to the Jews, and they reject Him. In John He is rejected from the first. But He says, "I will have My sheep." Nothing can touch His grace; if man cannot understand the grace in which He came, He goes on with it still. He is always the same. No matter what failure or rejection or stupidity He meets, He is the same.
What poor failing creatures we are. He may have to chasten us and deal with us: it only shows His watchful grace! We can lean on a heart that never changes in grace, and never can change in power. In ups and downs, rejections and receptions, He never changes. The thread runs all through of what He was - God revealed in man: perfect, constant grace.
Then comes His death, without which we could have no part in the blessing. In dying He has taken a new place, founded on redemption; and now I find, not only that He is unchanged, but He has wrought a work the value of which is unchanged, and which is the ground of eternal blessedness.
Redemption remains unchanged, and whatever is built on that has an eternal character. He associates us completely with Himself in the effect of that. When He spoke of His death His disciples were "exceeding sorry." We know it as the foundation truth of salvation, but we don't like the cross a bit better for ourselves than they did. He shows them their association with Himself, and says, "Then are the children free." They were children of the King, Peter as much as Himself. He is Jehovah, and knows and can do all things; and now, this truth of death having come in, He can put them into His place. He brings them all through into the same place with Himself. His heart brings us there; and the thing for us is to walk in the consciousness of it, to walk in the sense that that is what is in Christ's heart. He shows us His love by manifesting it down here, but He takes us up too. If I am to walk in the Father's love, I know Christ is in it. Being in this place, I taste the perfect love of Christ to Him in it. I confide and trust in His love, with heart-confidence in the love of Christ which does pass knowledge, but which we know and confide in. I obey and adore Him, but I see the way He has brought my heart back to confidence in Him, in what we have found to be the way He thinks about us.
In the Lord's Table I find He attaches importance to, our remembering Him; not that we are anything, but if I have a friend I like him to think of me when I am away because I love him. There must be redemption; but this is the expression of the heart of Christ putting us into this place. If Christ takes my heart, I am thinking of pleasing Him. He has possession of my heart; that is really practical sanctification. I judge myself as a poor ruined creature, and walk in intercourse with Christ. Sorrows and troubles I have, but He never changes; and nothing can separate me from His love, for they are only creature things that come on me, and His love is divine, the love of God.